There has been this, very negative and nagging, belief I’ve carried ever since my teenage years. It’s the belief that the older I get, the less I can do. It’s living with the acceptance that one day my body won’t be able to perform at any high level of athleticism, and fuck- I believed it.
And unfortunatley, that belief is not limited to just physical abilities, at least not for Women. I’ve heard many times in my life- “Women over 30 should keep their skirts below their knees” or “never have longer than shoulder length hair after 35”, we hear these things growing up and assume it to be some kind of “gender law”. At least I did. Not once did I question those phrases; never did it occur to me that part of my gender’s oppression is a consequence of society placing those ridiculous expectations upon us.
Until it did. Until the day I realized being an adult had less to do with what you know or how you appear, and more to do with how you understand yourself and the world around you. In conforming, we lose our individuality- we lose that fire that burns within all of us. That fire is important- it pushes us through and the past our struggles, limits, fears, and expectations to not only reach our dreams- but to be proud of the person looking back at us in our mirror.
Our bodies and minds are designed for performance-we’re designed to climb through trees and chase saber tooth tigers for miles and miles. We are not a sedentary species. We get sick because we fail to take care of and work our bodies daily. Think of your body as one giant muscle- the more work you put in, the stronger you are; no matter your age or sex. We get sick and bored in life because we limit our minds to fitting in, instead of reaching out.
I know it’s scary to feel like an individual in a collective society- to walk into a room looking or being different. We’re trained to believe that differences are abnormal and unless a person or group fits into our spaces and our check marks- we cannot assimilate them into our lives.
But we can. We should. And I know one day we will. One day we will no longer see disabilities but instead, abilities. One day we won’t see abnormal and we’ll recognize that nothing ever was, nor will it never be “normal”.
Normal is an ideal from a culture, society, or community standard. It is a product of expectations and conforming. Normal is fucked up.
Don’t be normal. Figure out who you are and what you need to find that unique individual within you. Find her or him and then get up and thrive. Take care of yourself. Believe in yourself. You can do anything, might take a shit ton of sweat and work, but you can do it. You will do it, once you know you can.
Maybe in this new year, we all set an intention to get up and change our thinking. How about we start believing and accepting ourselves more and stop conforming to impossible ideals and standards. Let’s focus on making ourselves happy and healthy and then maybe- just maybe our individual strengths can strengthen the community around us.